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51 St Denys Road, York. YO1 9QD
Parisi hotel York
Yorkshire countryside

Explore the surrounding Yorkshire countryside

If you fancy exploring the wider region of Yorkshire and the North of England, York makes an ideal base.

If you came by car, our offsite car parking gives good access to the outer ring road, from where you can easily access the surrounding countryside. Alternatively, trains and buses will get you a long way with a bit of preplanning or there are many tours where much of the organisational legwork is done for you.

The North York Moors

It is less than an hours’ drive to the edge of the Moors, and there is so much to do. The pretty market towns of Helmsley and Pickering, both at the foot of the Moors and boasting a castle apiece, offer great wandering and browsing opportunities with many little shops, cosy pubs and photographic opportunities.

From Helmsley, if you were feeling energetic, you could take the 7 mile round trip walk to Rievaulx Abbey, a stunning and atmospheric ruined Abbey nestled in a gorgeous little wooded valley.

From Pickering you could continue your drive up through the Moors to the coast passing through many pretty moorland villages, or leave the car and buy a day pass for the North York Moors Steam Railway and take magical journey through the moors to Whitby, stopping off where you like along the way for a bite to eat or maybe a walk.

Access to the moors by public transport can be a little hit and miss, with some bits being easier to get at than others, and generally more services running May to September. For some areas hiring a car, joining a tour group or hiring a private guide might be the best options. As ever our staff is always on hand to provide help and advice.

Yorkshire Coast

Whitby (known for its excellent fish and chips and featured in Bram Stoker’s Dracula!) is one of the many pretty fishing towns and villages that line the east coast, with Robin Hood's Bay, Runswick Bay and Staithes perhaps being the most picturesque. Scarborough, easily accessible by rail, has its own more boisterous charm too, with sandy beaches and many amusement arcades and ice cream parlours around the popular South Bay.

Howardian Hills

Even nearer to hand is the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in Ryedale. These lovely rolling hills contain pretty villages with lovely country pubs and historic buildings to visit such as Castle Howard (which has reasonably good bus links to York) and Nunnington Hall.

On the way to the Dales

Harrogate is a spa town at the foot of the Dales within about an hour’s drive and about 30-40 mins by train from York with a regular service. It is the original home of Bettys (although York’s lovely Deco building takes a lot of beating in our opinion!) and has an amazing tiled Victorian Turkish Baths. It is still operational and makes a lovely day out. Not far from Harrogate is RHS Harlow Carr gardens you can take an hours leisurely walk through the Valley Gardens to get there from Harrogate or hop on the bus.

Ripon is a Cathedral city which acts as another gateway to the Dales and is near to the UNESCO World Heritage site Fountains Abbey which is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian Abbeys in England. Again public transport can be a bit tricky from York, but buses run on selected days in the summer.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park

The Yorkshire Dales are an upland area of the Pennines, with individual Dales being valleys formed by rivers. There are many Dales within the national park, all with their own character – more details can be found on the website but a few highlights listed below:

Nidderdale AONB is a beautiful bit of the eastern Dales, with Pateley Bridge being the main town. There are miles of dry stone walls, moorland and rolling green pastures along with many little villages equipped with tearooms for refreshment! Marvel at the amazing rock formations at Brimham Rocks or try out some adventurous outdoor activities such as those on offer at How Stean Gorge.

Malham National Park Centre can give you all the information you need to explore some of the most dramatic scenery in the National Park; the towering cliff of Malham Cove, the impressive Gordale Scar and the delightful waterfall at Janet's Foss. You can also find out about watching the peregrine falcons that regularly nest at the Cove, or exploring around Malham Tarn.

Wensleydale is famous for the eponymous cheese, the main commercial production of which is at Hawes. Not far from Hawes is the Hardraw Falls, the highest above-ground unbroken waterfall in England . Also in Wensleydale are the Aysgarth falls, three sets of low wide limestone falls, famous for their beauty, rather than their height.

Settle is a small market town in Ribblesdale in the southern Dales and the starting point for the magnificent Settle to Carlisle railway which runs through some spectacular scenery in the Dales such as the awe-inspiring Ribblehead viaduct to all the way to Carlisle in Cumbria .

The Yorkshire Wolds

Probably still lesser known than the Moors and Dales, the Yorkshire Wolds are a broad crescent of rolling chalk hills and valleys between York and the Coast to the South of the Moors. The area has found increasing fame recently after having been featured in paintings by the renowned Yorkshire-born artist David Hockney, who has been coming back to his roots and painting the Wolds landscape he knows from his childhood. It is lovely walking country and contains many beautiful old houses to visit such as Burton Agnes Hall and Sledmere House.

Arts in Yorkshire

In addition to York’s own exciting offerings there are some great gallery spaces to visit in the wider county, particularly the three venues of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle: The Hepwoth in Wakefield , Leeds City Art Gallery and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a largely outdoor venue set in beautiful rural surroundings south of Wakefield .

North Yorkshire Countryside England
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